The Maldives is a by-word for luxury, romance and tropical bliss; a beautiful string of low-lying coral islands in the Indian Ocean, and a paradise for watersports enthusiasts and sun seekers alike. The past two decades have seen the islands develop into a popular long-haul destination.
The country's 26 natural atolls offer nautical delights from night-fishing trips, windsurfing and scuba-diving. Many islands embrace enormous lagoons, where bright blue-green water laps gently on brilliant white sand beaches.
The Maldives as a destination is, arguably, the greatest revolution in luxury travel in the last several decades. It is the world standard for tropical paradises and exclusivity, where unsurpassed beauty has continued to attract travellers from all over the world.
Today tourism figures, awards and statistical forecasts show the destination as a powerful force with a lucrative future. As one example among many, in 2008 the World Travel Awards recognized the Maldives as the world's leading island destination. And every year its resorts populate prestigious rankings like the Cond? Nast Traveller Hotlists.
In terms of annual tourist arrivals to the Maldives, the figures have increased steadily from a mere 1,097 in 1972, after the opening of the first resort, to over 675,000 in 2007. The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) expects the numbers to increase to 959,712 in 2010.
Scattered across the equator in the middle of the Indian Ocean, the gem like islands of the Maldives depict the rare vision of a tropical paradise. Palm fringed islands with sparkling white beaches, turquoise lagoons, clear warm waters and coral reefs teeming with abundant varieties of marine flora and fauna, continue to fascinate visitors, as it has fascinated others in the past, for thousands of years. Marco polo referred to the Maldives as the '..... Flower of the Indies', and Ibn Batuta called her in his chronicles 'one of the wonders of the world.Capital
The national flag consists of a white crescent at the center of a green field which, in turn, is at the center of a red field.Anthem
Gavmii mi erkuverikan matii tibegen kuriime salaam (In National Unity Do We Salute Our Nation).History
The history of the Maldives is as mysterious as the country itself. The moving hand of time has made it difficult to separate facts from legend, but has historical evidence leaves little doubt of the richness of life in the Maldives during the past.
The Maldivians, with their inherent love for peace, had to fight hard for their independence. In 1558, the Portuguese invaded and captured the Maldives. They ruled the country for 15 long years, until Boduthakurufaanu, the national hero saved the nation from losing its freedom forever. He ruled the country as Sultan Mohamed Thakurufaanu from 1573 - 1583.
After 800 years of being a Sultanate (from 1153 AD- 1953), the Maldives became a Republic in 1953. However, remaining a Republic for less than a year, the Maldives returned to being a Sultanate on 21 August 1953.
The Maldives which became a British Protectorate, gained full independence on July 26, 1965. The second Republic was declared on 11 November 1968 and since then the country has remained a fully independent republic.Currency
The local currency is the Rufiyaa but no-one seems to want it. The US Dollar is the preferred currency.Location
The resort is located on the exotic Emboodhu Finolhu Island, in the middle of one of the largest lagoons in the Maldives. This tropical isle, once known as Three Coconut Island, is surrounded by crystal blue waters and covered with lush tropical flora. The resort is just 8 kilometres from Male' International Airport and 15 minutes by a private luxury speedboat, available 24 hoursLanguage
Dhivehi is the national language. English is widely spoken in addition to German, French, Italian and Japanese, spoken by the resort staff.Time zone
GMT +6.Dialling codes Country code
The Republic of Maldives consists of about 1,190 low-lying coral islands, of which only 200 are inhabited. Most of the inhabited islands are covered by lush tropical vegetation and palm trees, while the numerous uninhabited islands, some of which are mere sand spits or coral tips, are covered in shrubs.
Each island is surrounded by a reef enclosing a shallow lagoon. Hundreds of these islands together with other coral growth form an atoll, surrounding a lagoon. All the islands are low-lying, none more than 2m (7ft) above sea level.Political change
Politically the country is today one of Asia's most progressive. After a 30-year period of autocratic rule from former President Gayoom, President Mohamed Nasheed was elected to the office in a democratic 2008 election, which made the Maldives one of the few Muslim democracies in the world. Since then the country has pursued a liberal-progressive agenda focused on improving the country's healthcare and education infrastructure, tourism development and environmental protection.Communications
The international access code for the Maldives is +960. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 001 for the United States). No city/area codes are required. IDD facilities are available at all resorts and card phones are available on all inhabited islands. The major islands are covered by the mobile network; the local operators use a GSM 900 network, which is compatible with many international cell phone operators, but it is best to check whether your network has roaming agreements with the Maldives. Dhiraagu, the Maldives Telecommunications Company provides mobile telephones for daily rental.
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